What Do You Want to Be?

We all get asked this question throughout different stages in our life. People take it less serious whenever we’re children, and it makes sense whenever the answers are fictional or unrealistic. Children don’t recognize the weight and reality of being a mermaid or princess, an astronaut or a superhero.

The question pops up again, mainly in later teen years, when the time when we actually have to consider what we wanted to do as a career. It’s still a difficult decision; I’ve halfway figured out what I want to do, but it’ll just take many more steps.

Anyways, I was speaking with someone [let’s call him James] a few weeks, specifically, I asked the person about his son that’s in high school. There was something that he said that rubbed me the wrong way.

I asked James, “Does your son know what he wants to do after high school?”

He said, “Yeah. Well, he knows what my wife and I want him to be.”

Which is?

“A neurosurgeon. But he wants to be an Olympic swimmer — which is great and everything. I told him that’s great to want to be one, but you’ll have to figure out what to do after the career is over. Unless you’re like Michael Phelps and have people continuing to sponsor you.”

I mean, he has a point about beyond the Olympic career, but the real concern is: Does his son even want to be a neurosurgeon? He’d personally have to have the desire to become a neurosurgeon or else it would be a waste of everything.

What if he pursued it but lost his identity? His own personal wellbeing to pursue such a high standard set by his parents? What if he’s attempting this career to appease his parents, only to flunk out and not exercises his true skill potential?

Not to mention, this is an exponentially high expectation due to his parents being business owners of a family restaurant and rental properties.

Should the expectations for the son be set so high if he merely wanted to be a teacher? [Not that he does, but you get what I mean.] It’s a bit unfair and cruel to expect him to be a surgeon and earn a high salary if his heart is not aligning with this idea.

The son would also have to have the passion and skills to become a great surgeon. If I were expected to become a nurse [funny to think about medical terminology when all I know are literary references and poetic rules] and be miserable while getting my degree, I probably would despise a lot of things in life due to someone else’s vision of a career path that I don’t want to do.

Hopefully this statement was said out of love and a successful future for his son. I’d rather not believe it’s the greed of money for wishing his son to pursue this career.

Ultimately, it’ll be the son’s decision since it is his life. I just hope he’s brave enough to pursue his own desires. I suppose we’ll see what happens in a few years and see what makes the son the happiest to pursue as a dream career.

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2 thoughts on “What Do You Want to Be?

  1. Great post, far too often children are forced to grow up into their parents dreams for them. That can harbor such resentment and other ill feelings. Each person should be allowed the right to find their true self and follow their own dreams…


    1. Thank you! I know what you mean; that entails so much more unnecessary pressure for the children! I wouldn’t want any child to go through that because of misplaced disappointment from the parents.


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